Måneskin’s trajectory from being sprightly young buskers on the streets of Rome to international superstars has been nothing short of a fairytale. Following their formation in 2015, the quartet won the hearts of their country on Italy’s own X Factor (coming in at second place), and strode to full world domination after their first prize victory at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021.
Since that time the indie glam rockers have collaborated with big-name legends such as Iggy Pop and Tom Morello, supported The Rolling Stones, landed multiple late night chat show appearances and peaked on chart listings across the globe with a fistful of frisky singles.
As the Italians continue to take their mountain-wide strides towards further success, we thought we’d take stock of their output so far. So sit back, slap on a pair of your finest nipple pasties and get into the Måneskin spirit with the ten best songs that have helped make them the hottest faces of modern rock.
It’s easy to make assumptions about a band as glitzy as Måneskin, but Gossip serves as one of many instances where they’ve shown an admirable defiance against superficiality. Played out via lyrics that target surface-level interactions and “gossip”, the quartet get down and dirty in this bass-driven boot-stomper that fuses a savvy level of wit with satisfyingly straight-forward riffing. Complete with a whizzing solo by Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello and a rhythm that feels like someone zipping the carpet out from under your feet, and it’s an all-out boogie.
2022’s single The Loneliest was met with surprise. For a band who had, up until that point, mostly pumped out tracks that could soundtrack a rock club, this sentimental ballad was worlds away and far darker than their usual oeuvre. “It’s a personal song but I hope you can all relate to it in your own way,” said frontman Damiano David, whose vocals throb and yowl around its angst-bolstered melody. Its accompanying video is like something out of The Notebook, with the quartet decked out in funeral attire while getting dramatically drenched by rainfall. It’s theatrical yet instantly familiar, illustrating the band’s talent for writing approachable yet versatile tunes.
Once believing that movies overstated people’s obsession with achieving wealth, fame and status, Måneskin’s early 2022 stay in Los Angeles to record their third album proved to them that that mentality was all very real. Repelled by the shallowness of the people they met, the band syphoned their feelings into a fictional character known as “Supermodel”. With the help of songwriting megastar Justin Tranter (Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande), the quintet wrote a summer anthem propelled by breezy guitar licks and shrewdly biting vocals that’s sizzles like the Californian sun poured into a cocktail-umbrella-ed martini glass; hot, but also kinda sleazy.
While bassist Victoria De Angelis might describe the song as “very silly” and “careless”, the simplicity of Mammamia is where it finds its power. Pinned by a honking bass line and a brisk chorus, the 2021 single only just escapes sounding like a quick, jam-session ditty. It’s this looseness, however, that makes it oodles of fun, comparable with being swept up on some sort of electrifying alt-rock merry-go-round. Plus, it comes with an NSFW video that sees each glamorously-garbed member of the band take turns in murdering vocalist Damiano David while at a party full of hormonal-addled bodies. It’s 'silliness' at its most rock ’n’ roll.
I Wanna Be Your Slave
The feisty and flirtatious I Wanna Be Your Slave - lifted from the Italian rockers’ second studio album Teatro d’ira: Vol. I - captures rock in its most rudimentary form. Serving up smut on a platter in the form of lyrics that’ll make your mother blush, this track oozes sexuality, but not in a way that’s oppressive or out-of-reach. It’s sexual-empowerment, both voyeuristic and inclusive, channelled through smoky vocals and a simplistic riff-driven rhythm that’s wet to the core with lip-biting sass. Everyone’s invited to the party here, including Iggy Pop, who supplied guest vocals on a re-recording of the track in 2021.
Zitti E Buoni
Although Måneskin were already considered big names in their homeland following their successful bid on Italy’s X Factor, Zitti E Buoni was the song that thrusted them into the global sphere, using it to take home the Eurovision crown. It’s also one of the best examples of how they really shine when their lyrics are written in their native language, with David’s quick-fire lines rolling off the tongue with a zestful urgency that bounces in tow with the fiendishly frenetic verses. Apexed by a chorus that’s as electrifying as a fire-cracker hoisted up your backside, it’s impossible not to appreciate why Måneskin have become one of modern rock’s strongest new forces.
Setting aside their usual affinity for hooky riffs and big, thumping choruses, Måneskin delved into their softer side in this romantic alt-rock ballad. Clocking in at five minutes long, Coraline is an entrancingly tender indie lullaby divided into a beginning, middle and end. Commencing with warmly pacifying guitar, David’s vocals dance around its cascading melody while his voice melts into a honey-soft croon, which is then later repeated for the outro. Meanwhile, the song swells in a wistful angst, as it introduces crashing drums and wandering bass lines, together forming one of the band’s more pensive offerings.
While their choice in cover songs might at first raise an eyebrow (such as The Killers’ Somebody Told Me), Måneskin’s knack for pushing dust-gathering tracks back into the mainstream is just one of the many ways they’re making rock music relevant for younger generations. Take their unlikely rock cover of The Four Seasons’ Beggin’ from 1967; with its raspy vocals and laid-back guitar licks, it’s effortlessly cool from start to finish, and yet another instance of their restorative Midas’ Touch working its magic.
In Nome Del Padre
Jump-starting into an exhilarating riff that packs enough power to charge a defibrillator, In Nome Del Padre is a live favourite. Backed by a booming, abrasive bass tone and thwacking percussion, David surrenders his savvy lip-biting and bares his teeth on this pissed-off rager that features cut-throat lines that read (when converted into English): ‘And you, stay a hand breadth from my ass, you asshole’. Blimey!
Many modern bands attempt to rekindle the classic drugs, sex and rock ’n’ roll lifestyle in their music, but most fail to escape sounding like a corny pastiche of their idols. Måneskin, however, are rewriting what it means to be inspired by rockstar excess, by rejecting all the parts they no longer find relevant - or ‘kool’. Although lines such as ‘But cool kids, they do not use drugs (they do not) / Only weed 'cause it's not that strong’ might send a shiver up the spine of an old school rock revivalist, the Italian rockers are here to spurn any expectations, all while having fun while do it. Showing a further disinterest in sticking to the rules, Kool Kids sees the band swap out their well-worn alt/glam rock sound for something that could easily be mistaken for an IDLES track.